"So, where do you want to go for dinner?"
"I don't know. Wherever."
"I don't know. You decide."
"There's this new Chinese place I've heard good things about. I thought maybe we could try it."
"Really? Where is it?"
"Somewhere in Manayunk"
"That far away!"
"It's not THAT far - we've got the car, after all, it's just a fifteen, twenty minute drive, tops. It'll take us that long to find a parking spot somewhere downtown."
"I guess. I don't know. Oh, look, they're starting again"
"Wasn't that wonderful!"
"I just love Kodaly, don't you?"
"Did you hear that long organ solo at the end? So grand, so stirring"
"Yes. It was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. So where are we going for dinner?"
"I thought you'd decided you wanted to go to the Chinese place."
"I hadn't decided. I just suggested it. I thought it would be nice to try out a new place. And we haven't had Chinese in a while. Besides, Mariana said it was the best Chinese food she'd had in Philly."
"Who's Mariana? Is she the one you were helping with her paper last Sunday? When you couldn't meet me for lunch?"
"No, no, that was Walter. Mariana's the one in my cohort - you remember - we met her at that party..."
"So anyway, the point is we don't have to go to the Chinese place. I just happened to think of it, that's all. We can always go somewhere else"
"Yes, let's. I'm not really in the mood for Chinese food anyway."
"Okay. So what are you in the mood for?"
"I don't know"
"You must have something in mind."
"Not really. You suggest something, na"
"I already did. You didn't want to go there."
"Oh, come on. Don't be like that."
"Look, I'm not being like anything. I'm just stating fact. I suggested a place. You didn't want to go there. Now it's your turn to come up with a suggestion."
"Don't be upset. If it really means that much to you we can go to the Chinese place. I don't mind that much. I just think it's far."
"I'm not being upset. Look...hey wait! Isn't this where our car was supposed to be?"
"It was 17th and Sansom, I thought. This is still 16th"
"No, no, I'm pretty sure it was 16th. Oh, god, I hope it hasn't been towed."
"Are you sure? I could have sworn it was the 17th."
"No, no, it was the 16th. Don't you remember that Pizzeria over there. How could they have towed it? I put more money in the meter than was necessary. And the sign clearly says it's free parking after 8. What the hell."
"You want to just walk down to 17th and check?"
"What's the point? I'm sure they must have towed it. That is, I hope they've towed it. I hope it hasn't been stolen. Oh dammit! I should call and check. Can you see a number on any of these boards?"
"Well, it can't harm, can it? I'll just go down and take a quick look, shall I, while you look for a number to call?"
"Ah, here it is. Right. Wait, where are you going? Don't go wandering off by yourself like that. If you absolutely must go to 17th street I'll come with you. I just think it's a waste of time. I know it was right here. Hello? Hello? Damn, they've put me on queue."
"I don't understand it. I could have sworn we'd parked on 16th."
"I told you it was 17th. You wouldn't believe me."
"Ah, well, at least we found the car. So, what were we talking about?"
"We were trying to decide where to go for dinner. You were sulking because you wanted to go to that Chinese place that your friend Mariana recommended."
"Oh, for Heaven's sake. I don't give a damn about the Chinese place. In fact, I absolutely refuse to go the Chinese place. Now, can we please figure out where we're going instead."
"I know. Why don't we go to that Mexican place where we went for our first month anniversary."
"We never went to a Mexican place for our first month anniversary. You know I don't like Mexican food."
"But, of course, we did. You cribbed, as usual, but we finally ended up there. Don't you remember. They had those singers who wandered from table to table singing old Spanish songs. It was so romantic."
"It sounds terrible. But this never happened. You must be confusing me with one of your ex-boyfriends. As usual."
"Yes it did. Of course it did. And afterwards, one of the singers came up to me and gave me a rose and told me he thought I was beautiful. And you got all upset about it, and you were so mean, said he'd probably been out herding cattle for too long. You even refused to leave a tip. We had such a big fight about it. We almost broke up. I think you're just blocking the whole thing from your memory."
"Whatever. Even if there is such a place, I'm certainly not going there again."
"Okay, then, you pick some place."
"How about that desi buffet place?"
"What, and eat cold, greasy samosas and half-cooked naan? You're kidding me."
"How about sushi?"
"We could. Except I'm really hungry. Sushi's not going to be filling enough."
"I know. Why don't we go to that Italian place?"
"The one where they have that awesome marinara sauce."
"The one in Manayunk? But I thought you said Manayunk was too far."
"Are you going to start that all over again?"
"Okay, okay, let's go to the Italian place."
"Why would they close so early?"
"It's not that early, you know. It's almost 11."
"Yes, but it's Friday night. They're supposed to be open later on weekends."
"That's Saturday night, I thought."
"Friday night too."
"Well, anyway, what do we do now?"
"I don't know. You want to try your Chinese place after all?"
"I thought you hated the idea of Chinese."
"I didn't hate it. I just thought it was far. But now that we're here anyway."
"Besides, I'm sure that'll be shut by now as well. Everything will be shut. This damn one horse town."
"So what do we do then?"
"Let's head back to town anyway. Maybe we could get some pizza. I'm sure some pizza place somewhere will be open."
"Pizza! Yuck! All that gooey cheese and stuff. Who needs that."
"Well, what are we going to do then?"
"Why don't you come back to my place. I'll rustle up something at home."
"With your cooking? No thanks."
"Smartass. I think I have some instant Chinese stuff. And I bought this amazing chilli soya sauce from Trader Joe's the other day. And we could open a bottle of wine."
"Oh, so NOW you want to eat Chinese."
"No, I don't want to eat Chinese. I'm just trying to come up with the best alternative open to us right now."
"Ya, right. And whose fault is that anyway? If you hadn't been so damn indecisive, we could have gone straight from the concert to the Chinese place and had a perfectly good dinner. Instead we're going to be stuck eating some sort of ramen crap, all because you couldn't make up your mind."
"Okay, for one thing, it's not Ramen crap, it's a perfectly good Hakka noodle mix. Plus, I don't see why you're blaming me. If you hadn't been so insistent that we go to this stupid Chinese place, despite the fact that I didn't want to, we could have decided on some other place a lot earlier. And who came up with the idea of this Italian place, I'd like to know. It's not like you were particularly full of suggestions. Besides, what really cost us time was all your stupid paranoid belly-aching about your car being towed away, when all the time it was just where I said it was."
"Okay, okay, so I was a little confused about the car. At least I remember who I have dinner with where. And don't go mixing dates with you up with dinners I've had with my ex-girlfriends."
"Dammit, we did go to that Mexican place. Look, if you're going to be like this, I'm not sure I want to have dinner with you at all."
"I'm not sure I want to have dinner with you."
"Great. Now that we've got that sorted out, I'm assuming you'll be kind enough to drop me off at my place. Or if that's too much trouble, just get me back to downtown and I'll catch a cab."
"Oh, I'll drop you home. I don't want to waste some poor taxi-guy's time while you try to 'decide' what route to take home."
"What you doing?"
"Nothing much. You?"
"Nothing much. Did you eat something?"
"No. I'm not hungry."
"Ya, neither am I. But you should eat something you know. It's not good for you."
"Maybe I'll have some ice cream later."
"You can't have just ice cream for dinner."
"Why not? I've done it before."
"It's not healthy. What flavour is it?"
"Double Fudge Brownie"
"Oooh! my favourite!"
"Yes, I bought it thinking we'd have it the next time you came over."
"Look, don't eat just ice cream. Come over and I'll make you something. I won't try to cook, I promise - I'll just follow the instructions on the packet."
"I don't know. It's late. What flavour did you say the noodles were again?"
"Hmmm. No, better not. I don't want to put you to any trouble. I'll rustle up something."
"Like what? I've seen your fridge, you know. There's nothing worth eating in there. Look, it's no trouble. I'm not sleeping anyway. Just come."
"Hmmm. Okay then. Listen, I'm sorry about earlier today."
"I don't know what got into me. I acted like a complete jerk."
"Ya, well. We both behaved like idiots."
"So I'll come over then."
"You realise this means we're going to have Chinese after all?"
"Yes. I know. I know. See, you always manage to get your way with me."
"Oooh. Is that a promise?"
"Idiot. Just get here soon, okay. Meanwhile I'll figure out how this damn thing gets made. Oh, and honey?"
"Bring the ice cream."
"Of course. See you in a bit. I love you."
"I love you too."
P.S. Since people are always accusing me of writing stories about sad, depressed people all by themselves, I thought I'd try something different. The result is a little, well, twee, but I figure variety is always a good thing. Today a couple. Tomorrow, who knows? An entire cricket team, perhaps?
P.P.S. Please, please note tag saying 'fiction' above. Not only am I not dating someone, but to the best of my knowledge there are no amazing Chinese places in Manayunk either. (That said, I do think the organ solo at the end of Kodaly's Missa Brevis is pretty impressive).